Classic Christmas movies, remakes to watch this holiday season

With hundreds of holiday movie choices made over the years, the decision of what to watch can be difficult.  Some classic Christmas movies have found such popularity that they have been remade for newer generations, such as Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

34thMiracle on 34th Street
The original film was first released May 2, 1947, and was directed by George Seaton. The story follows Kris Kringle as he fills in for an intoxicated Santa in the Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. He becomes popular enough that he appears as a regular in the main Macy’s store. After he tells everyone that he believes he is actually Santa Claus, it results in a court case to determine his mental health and authenticity.

The remake of the movie was released Nov. 18, 1994, and was directed by Les Mayfield. It follows the same plot line as the original, but with minor changes that add a modern twist, mainly making Susan, the daughter of event director Doris Walk, more cynical. The original received a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, a site that rates movies and TV shows, while the remake received a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes.

ghostA Christmas Carol

There have been many film versions of the Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, the two most popular for younger audiences being the Muppets version and the animated Disney version.

The Muppets’ A Christmas Carol was released on Dec. 11, 1992. Ebenezer Scrooge was played by Michael Caine, the only human actor in the movie, and the other characters were played by the Muppets. Businessman Scrooge despises Christmas, and on Christmas Eve, his devoted employee Bob Cratchit – played by Kermit the Frog – begs Scrooge for the night off work. Scrooge reluctantly agrees, and then goes home for the night. He is then visited by three ghosts that take him to his Christmas past, present, and future, hoping to change his bitterness. The 1992 version adds Robert Marley, former business partner of Scrooge and the brother of Jacob Marley. Both Robert and Jacob – played by the Muppets Statler and Waldrof – visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve.

The animated A Christmas Carol was released by Disney on Nov. 9, 2009, and was directed by Robert Zemeckis. The only differences between the two are that the 1992 version has the Muppets playing the characters, other than Scrooge, and the 2009 version is all animated. In the original novel, the ghost of Scrooge’s former business partner, Jacob Marley, visits him as the ghost of the past. The 1992 version received a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes while the 2009 version received a 54%.

grinchDr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The original version of The Grinch was released on Dec. 18, 1966, and was narrated by Boris Karloff. The animated movie follows the plot line of Dr. Seuss’s book: The Grinch lives in a cave above the town of Whoville, and has hated Christmas for 53 years. His heart is “two sizes too small,” and he gets exhausted hearing all of the Christmas music and seeing the decorations in Whoville, so he decides to disguise himself as Santa Claus and “steal Christmas.” After taking every Christmas item from Whoville and returning to his cave, he waited to hear the sad cries, but he again heard the Christmas Carols, proving the spirit of Christmas is not based on materialistic things. He begins to understand the meaning of Christmas, but barely in time to stop the stolen gifts from being lost. His heart grows three sizes then, allowing him to lift the sled and making it to Whoville where he returns the gifts he stole, and everyone shares Christmas dinner together.

The remake was released on Nov. 8, 2009, and was directed by Ron Howard. While the 1966 version was animated, the 2009 version is a live-action film. The movie follows the same story as the original, but has some select differences. The town of Whoville is more corrupt, townsperson Cindy Lou plays a bigger role than she did in the original, and the remake focuses more in the town than it did in the original. The 1966 version received a 100% on Rotten tomatoes while 2009 version received a 53%.

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